Taking Stock: Combating Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region, by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Testimony before the US Helsinki Commission on the contrast between actions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and those of the United Nations.
As an NGO, we have successfully collaborated with UNESCO in a series of important conferences promoting tolerance and best Internet practices. However, we are deeply concerned that the General Assembly is often paralyzed by 57 Muslim states who exercise a virtual veto over its activities, and politicizing UN conferences. The UN world conference against racism, known as Durban I, that took place just before 9/11, degenerated into a hate-fest, where speaker after speaker railed against the US, and laid all the world’s problems at the doorstep of the State of Israel. It was at Durban I that Jewish NGOs, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, were physically intimidated, publicly maligned – accused of being outlaws and supporters of an apartheid state.
Free from such politicization and constraints, we salute the OSCE for its leadership in the field of tolerance, and fostering an environment conducive to honest and open dialogue among diverse religious and cultural leaders. And we are grateful that the OSCE has emerged as the most effective international address in combating anti-semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry….
Sadly, Mr. Chairman, the quickest way to get a resolution on the agenda at the UN is for the subject matter to be about Israel. For example, the new UN Human Rights Council has, has passed thirteen human rights condemnations, twelve of them against Israel. Yet, there are no UN General Assembly resolutions on Women’s Rights in the Arab world – no resolutions condemning the tactics used by the so-called “modesty police,” who arrest and beat people and violate human rights each and every day.
The UN has held many Special Sessions on important issues of the day, such as Drug Trafficking, Apartheid, AIDS, Disarmament, but no Special Session on Suicide Terror, the crime of the 21st century, which threatens to engulf all of mankind. We urge the OSCE to take the leadership role in awakening the international community to deal with this issue.